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Five English Bands to Look Out for in 2018

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by Chris Henniker (subscribe)
There are 6m postcodes in London, what's happening in yours?
Published November 13th 2017
Culture warriors unite
Photograph: Sonja Horsman for the Observer / www.theguardian.com/music/2017/apr/23/one-to-watch-hmltd-interview



A Facebook friend of mine posted something on Sam Smith, which was about how bland and anodyne his work is. Well, I wholeheartedly agree with him. It's bland, alright. Anything that came from Simon Cowell would be, such as Will Young's sanitised version of The Doors "Light My Fire". It neutered it, taking all the passion and psychedelic elements out of the song and left it a middle of the road shell of its former self. The former's lacking in popular culture today, but it's also cringeworthy.

Fortunately, there's an army of cultural warriors that are fighting back and you will hear the best musicians in England leading the charge.

Madonnatron

These DIY psych troubadours are giving the brown acid to London with songs about Cat Ladies, but also taking inspiration from the film Fatal Attraction's bunny boiler scene, as well as Mexican vampire mythology, they create soundscape that mess with your mind and lyrics that are horror films in song form.




HMLTD

Happy Meal Limited take the Ziggy Stardust era androgyny into the twenty-first century like a camp Fat White Family that mixes eighties post-punk, New Romantics and the more Nathan Barley sounds of today. Their best song, To The Door, mixes Dick Dale/Duane Eddy/Ennio Morricone surf guitars with almost dubstep breakdowns in the chorus that creates a conversation between a jilted lover pleading to stay and the one evicting him.

Although the androgynous aesthetic has been done to death, these boys really put a new spin on it by allying with a queer sensibility and making it obvious. Yet like the Fat White Family, their high energy performance really is capturing fans across the country.



Bugeye

Croydon has been where David Bowie went to art school, along with Jamie Reid and Malcolm McLaren, but emerging from the grey suburban concrete jungle of Crooklyn is Bugeye. An old indie band from back in the day, Bugeye are reemergence into a music scene that is strangled by bureaucracy and gentrification to say "Crooklyn is Ours!" Bugeye's songs are inspired by historical figures and events, such as the case of Ruth Ellis in Never Let You Go. The video for which portrays a relationship that's fraught with domestic violence and subverts the convention of melodrama by the female protagonist killing her husband and leaving the home. In a melodrama, like Ibsen's A Dolls House, Nora leaves home and walks out on her husband, Torvald. Either that, or a female protagonist dies.

Since Bugeye's reemergence, their new album is gaining airplay on internet radio stations and is receiving acclaim from websites like Drowned In Sound. Catch them before they become as big as Elvis.




Meatraffle

These political punks are driven by a trumpet, which challenges the conventional wisdom of what's punk rock sounds like. The eerie Wicker Man is filled with political fire at the corruption and injustice of society, calling for bankers to be sacrificed to the people in... isn't that obvious. Even songs like Madam Hi-fi are infused with Marxist theory, connecting sexual desire to commodity fetishisation to say that sexual fetishism and commodity fetishism are one and the same. That said, the disco-tinged The Horseshoe is a fun celebration of a local pub.




Inheaven

When speaking to Angela Martin of Bugeye, she said that we're going to see a revival of both Britpop and grunge. If you realise that the name of the band I'm talking about is a pun on the Kings of grunge, you're going to know what I'm thinking of. Inheaven are mixing heavy Britpop and grunge to allow people like myself to relive their teenage years, but also because the present culture is bland and sterile. You only have to look at the plethora of cookery shows, repeats and home improvement shows that are basically shots of someone walking into a room. Even their videos are sexually charged, such as their tribute to Stephen King's Carrie.




These cultural warriors are fighting the good fight, against mediocrity and the pervasive sense that Simon Cowell's lurking on your stereo so that you may be truly entertained and have your preconceived ideas challenged. Dare you enlist?
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